Jan 9, 2012

STFU, Kim Novak.

I simply *had* to post using that headline, because it's probably going to be appropriate only once or twice in my Life.

So, I haven't seen "The Artist" yet - in large part due to the fact that is playing NOwhere near Amishville, PA (also, Weinsteins, the official film website should take a page from Fox Searchlight and list future opening dates/cities) - but am aware that it is a near-silent film-about-filmmaking. It doesn't take a rocket surgeon to know that, generally, when writers/directors make films-about-filmmaking, they are going to reference, pay tribute to and otherwise homage/rip-off other movies. There's a grad-school thesis just waiting to be made simply by doing an annotated version of "Hugo."

If you haven't seen Dujardin and Michel Hazavanicus's work yet, get thee to Netflix Streaming to watch "OSS 117" for a pitch-perfect recreation and simultaneous parody of early Bond films. So, while I haven't seen "The Artist," I have a vague idea of what they're going to try for. Now, apparently, one of those filmic quotations/homages in the movie is the use of Bernard Herrmann's iconic score for "Vertigo" during a crucial sequence. Now, one would think this would be no big deal considering that a quick look at the composer's IMDB page shows that that fine piece of music has been featured in everything from "A Single Man" to "Charlie's Angels 2: Full Throttle."

No biggie, unless you're Kim Novak. According to Deadline (which, ugh, I know), she is none too pleased . And by none too pleased, I mean, she feels like hearing "Scene d'Amour" makes her the equivalent of Lisbeth Salander:

Los Angeles: “I want to report a rape,” said Kim Novak, the legendary star of “Vertigo,” “Picnic,” and many other revered classics. “My body of work has been violated by ‘The Artist.’ This film took the Love Theme music from “Vertigo” and used the emotions it engenders as its own. Alfred Hitchcock and Jimmy Stewart can’t speak for themselves, but I can. It was our work that unconsciously or consciously evoked the memories and feelings to the audience that were used for the climax of ‘The Artist.’”

Novak went on to say that “The Artist” could and should have been able to stand on its own. “There was no reason for them to depend on Bernard Herrmann’s score from ‘Vertigo’ to provide more drama. ‘Vertigo’s’ music was written during the filming. Hitchcock wanted the theme woven musically in the puzzle pieces of the storyline. Even though they did given Bernard Herrmann a small credit at the end, I believe this kind of filmmaking trick to be cheating. Shame on them!”

This kind of “borrowing” could portend a dangerous future for all artists in film. “It is morally wrong of people in our industry to use and abuse famous pieces of work to gain attention and applause for other than what the original work was intended. It is essential that all artists safeguard our special bodies of work for posterity, with their individual identities intact and protected."


YOU DIDN'T WRITE IT, BITCH. Also, hearing a piece of music you DID NOT COMPOSE is NOT the equal of rape. Here's Wagner's prelude to Tristan und Isolde - which a sharp-eared listener will notice bears a remarkable, sometime note-for-note similarity to Herrmann's score.

This is as bad as Johnny Depp comparing posing for pictures in a glossy magazine to rape. Celebs? Stop comparing anything to rape EXCEPT actual rape. Seriously. Stop.

In sum, shut the fuck up, Kim Novak.

a cinema on a desert island

So, the fabulous Matt Zoller Seitz wrote an article recently for Salon in which he asked us, what, if we could somehow take a perpetually functioning DVD/Blu-Ray player to a desert island -- one run by solar power or coconuts, one presumes - we would be watching.

He allows for a single short film, one self-contained season of a television show and ten films. However, the last part has a caveat -- for example, because "Carlos" played Cannes as a single five-hour film from the the French TV miniseries, it qualifies as a single film. However, film trilogies, franchises and whatnot do not. The first two "Godfathers" are separate works.

Part of this is easy - one simply thinks of what films one has watched the most. But the other part -- I am shutting myself out from all future works, from all the films and shows yet to be made, from all the ones I have not yet seen - is hard. The question, quite simply, is what can I watch over-and-over that still has hidden depths I have not yet seen? Once the novelty is gone - once the third-act twist has been revealed, once the dialogue has been memorized - what remains?

So, with that in mind:

Short: Hotel Chevalier
Season: Twin Peaks, Season Two
1) Beyond the Valley of the Dolls
2) Bringing Up Baby
3) Citizen Kane
4) Fanny & Alexander
5) Gone with the Wind
6) Lost Highway
7) Out of Sight
8) Umbrellas of Cherbourg
9) Vertigo
10) Zodiac

Look for justifications to appear shortly. For now, I will merely say that several on this list fall into the "stop whatever I am doing and watch them in their entirety, should they appear on TV, despite the fact that I have seen them all before and own them on DVD."

(Honorable mention using that criteria: Bring It On. It is a constant delight.)